Lee Bird Field is trying to keep up with the Essential Air Service. They need to have two round trip flights a day in order to keep up with the standards. That's why they're looking into hiring airlines like Elite Airways.
The jet engine of the Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft roared as it prepared for takeoff from Lee Bird Field in North Platte.
"It's very nice inside." Airport Manager Mike Sharkey said. "It really is nice."
The 50-seat charter plane cruises at 488 miles per hour, making trips from North Platte to Denver as fast as a one hour flight from takeoff to touchdown.
"About the hour block time or so makes a lot of economic sense." Elite Airways President John Pearsall said.
The jet is one of three planes which could find its home in North Platte, Kearney and Denver if elite airways beats out six other airline services in a bid for a contract with Lee Bird Field.
"You don't get this kind of room in another plane for the same price you would get at another airline." Flight Attendant Madalyn Then said.
Elite Airways is one of two of the bidding airlines offering jet planes. The CRJ-200 would be able to make the trip from North Platte to Denver for only $60 per ticket. The airline is even looking at making trips to other cities outside of Denver.
"We actually spoke to the folks her today and told them we were considering going east toward Minneapolis or Chicago." Pearsall said.
Expanding East is one of the main draws Elite saw in making a home in North Platte.
"Knowing that if we were to grow the market in each of these cities, that we could go further East with it, that was the key." Pearsall said.
Regardless of the airline being Elite or one of the other six, the benefits don't just apply to the air service.
"I think we're going to develop the traffic." Pearsall said. "That's the key. I think because the fact that jet is being out there there's more people that are going to ride them as opposed to driving or taking another form of transportation."
Airport officials will know which airline they'll be taking in around mid to late April. Those flights will start taking off from Lee Bird Field at the beginning of November.
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